I took particular note of the first two paragraphs. There, Bastiat addresses his mock petition to his fellow members of the French Legislative Assembly in words that could easily, and should be leveled at our politicians and intellectuals of today:
You reject abstract theories and have little regard for abundance and low prices. You concern yourselves mainly with the fate of the producer. You wish to free him from foreign competition, that is, to reserve the domestic market for domestic industry.How little things have changed since 1845. Bastiat was writing as his country was rushing headlong toward socialism, and was confronting men who refused to think in principle. We have plenty of that type in government now, and too few Bastiat's to stand up and challenge them.
We come to offer you a wonderful opportunity for applying your—what shall we call it? Your theory? No, nothing is more deceptive than theory. Your doctrine? Your system? Your principle? But you dislike doctrines, you have a horror of systems, and, as for principles, you deny that there are any in political economy; therefore we shall call it your practice—your practice without theory and without principle. [bold added]